Sunday October 01, 2023

KPOGCL lays off 60 employees

September 20, 2023

PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil and Gas Company Limited (KPOGCL) has laid off 60 employees in the compulsory golden handshake scheme. The fired employees, however, have alleged the top management had proposed and suggested downsizing the employees through their self-created criteria instead of focusing on core business and increasing revenue of the organisation. They claimed the downsizing process was completed with mala fide intentions. All the process was carried out through a management committee comprising acting CEO, acting company secretary and acting HOD HR, they alleged.

According to the documents available with this scribe, KPOGCL had announced compulsory golden handshake scheme on August 15 till August 29, 2023. The documents say if an employee submits a petition/complaint, he will be terminated automatically. Some employees filed legal cases in the courts, but all were terminated on the same date without any evaluation.

Nasir Khan, Acting CEO of KPOGCL, said golden handshake scheme was offered recently to all the employees of KPOGCL. Rightsizing the organisation was done as per the principal/core business objectives, and according to the best practices of the oil and gas industry in line with the guidance of BOD KPOGCL, he added. He said around 90pc of employees have already availed the golden handshake offer, and a few cases are sub-judice in the court.

He said, “The acting charge of CEO KPGOCL has been assigned by the 12-member KPOGCL BOD and notified by the provincial cabinet”.

The redundant employees have alleged it was portrayed as a voluntary separation scheme. But, as per the instrument, it was one-sided document with mala fide intentions and hiding evaluation factors e.g. organogram, adjustment criteria, grading structure and new self-designed group classifications of employees for targeting specific employees/positions.

One of the redundant staffers, Junior Engineer Nasir Akhbar, said the whole criterion is being violated and a unique golden handshake policy announced which violates the basic rights being defined for any public sector company. “It was a mental harassment. If this exercise had been done through proper procedure, no one would have lodged a complaint. The issue is being raised due to lots of irregularities and favouritism”, he alleged.

Junior Engineer Saddam Hussain said, as per the TORs, rightsizing exercise and evaluation criteria are biased and mala fide. “None of the respective heads of department was consulted in the whole process except HR & Finance”, he said. The Evaluation Criteria 1 (a) says 85pc of marks are given to two years evaluations with variable marking i.e. 35pc of 2020-21 and 50pc of 2021-22 performance. However, two years were evaluated by the Acting CEO, instead of considering whole tenure appraisals since inception, he said.

Venting out their anger, other fired employees said the remaining 15pc marks for length of service and seniority of employees are being ignored. “The length of KPOGCL experience was evaluated but performance evaluated for two years only. Previous relevant job experiences have been ignored, including industrial experience and qualifications”, they said.

New contractual employees having no appraisals or one year appraisal are equally compared with old employees. Positions in the new organogram have been removed and senior/legible employees passing the said criteria are not adjusted accordingly and retrenched by putting desired conditions/restrictions, said one of them. “Irrelevant departments merged under irrelevant heads clearly shows incompetency of the management committee”, he said.

The employees claimed only a few employees were terminated on the reports of the Provincial Inspection Team, AGP and NAB. However, some blue-eyed were adjusted deliberately.

“BOD directed the management to terminate the employees having hiring process issues, in which some employees were terminated, while blue-eyed employees spared. It was mandatory to exclude employees having fake interviews, vague documentation/experience and issues in the initial hiring process but adjusted accordingly”, he said.